Public service workers help people check-in at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Robstown, Texas on February 9, 2021.
Go Nakamura | Reuters
The Biden government will work with Texas officials to build three new community vaccination centers in Dallas, Arlington and Houston, a member of President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Response Team announced Wednesday.
The three centers, which will be operational the week of February 22nd, will enable healthcare providers to administer a total of more than 10,000 shots per day, Jeff Zients, Bidens Covid czar, told reporters during a press conference at the White House Pandemic. “We are immediately putting in teams to work hand in hand with the state and local jurisdiction,” he said.
Later on Wednesday, Zients announced that he would be holding a press conference with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to officially announce the development of two new Covid vaccine centers in the state and to distribute shots to “underserved communities” support.
The announcements come days after the government announced that it would be sending troops on active duty to California to help vaccinate Covid-19 workers there. Biden is trying to speed up the pace of vaccinations in the US after a slower-than-expected rollout under the administration of former President Donald Trump, and federal officials are also urging states to administer shots faster.
The troops will arrive in California this week and begin operations by Monday, US officials said.
Around 33 million out of around 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 9.8 million of those people have already got their second shot.
U.S. officials also hope vaccine supplies will increase after Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine is emergency approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which could happen as early as this month. The FDA scheduled a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products on February 26th to discuss the vaccine. The US could approve the vaccine the next day.
Last week, Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor on Biden’s Covid-19 response team, said some health care providers were regularly withholding vaccines for second shots, which resulted in vaccine appointments being canceled and some Americans being prevented from receiving their first doses.
“We want to make it clear that we understand why healthcare providers did this, but that it doesn’t have to and shouldn’t happen,” he told reporters Feb. 1, adding that US officials know that Covid vaccines are in States delivered were often unpredictable during the early rollout in late December.
The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that many states are already past vaccinating just health care providers, nursing homes, and the elderly, and are starting to open shots to people with underlying health conditions.
He urged people with these conditions to get vaccinated and said they were more prone to severe Covid-19. “They are exactly the people who should be vaccinated,” he added. “This is something that will be very useful to you.”